Claritin or Loratadine is an antihistamine that is used to treat hives, watery eyes, sneezing, cold, skin rash, runny nose, itching, and other allergy symptoms. It is also taken to cure itching and skin hives in people who have chronic skin reactions. It is available in the form of regular tablets, chewable tablets, and in liquid form. Claritin works by limiting the effects of the natural chemical histamine in your body, reducing symptoms like watery eyes, itching, and sneezing.
However, Claritin should not be used to treat a severe allergic reaction like anaphylaxis. If you have been prescribed epinephrine, use it instead of Claritin to treat a severe allergic reaction.
Claritin can treat skin rash and hives, but it also has some side effects. Most of the side effects are minor and disappear as your body adjusts to the use of Claritin. However, seek immediate medical help if any of these side effects persist or become worse.
Minor side effects
- Feeling hyperactive or nervous
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
- Blurred vision
- Skin rash
- Eye redness
However, some of the side effects are serious and can lead to death if not treated immediately. Visit your doctor immediately if you experience any of these major side effects.
Major side effects
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Feeling that you might pass out
- Severe headaches
- Seizures and convulsions
- Signs of an allergic reaction including swelling, trouble breathing, itching, and rash
How to use?
Take Claritin only according to your prescribed dosage, without increasing or decreasing your dose. It is advisable to take Claritin until your symptoms have cleared up, or until prescribed by your doctor. Claritin should not be given to children under two years of age as misusing cough and cold medicines can lead to death in young children. It is advisable to take Claritin once every day unless prescribed otherwise by your doctor. You can take Claritin with food if you feel nauseous. Make sure you swallow the whole regular tablet, without chewing, breaking, or crushing the tablet as this can affect your dosage. If you are taking the liquid form, use a dose-measuring device to make sure you take the correct dosage. If you are taking the chewable tablet, you need to chew it before swallowing. Store Claritin in a cool and dry place.
- Do not take Claritin if you are allergic to desloratadine, or to any of the active or inactive ingredients found in Claritin. It is advisable to ask for a list of ingredients from your pharmacist to avoid a severe allergic reaction.
- As one of the side effects of using Claritin is drowsiness, avoid operating machinery or driving until you are sure about the way Claritin affects your body.
- Inform your doctor of all the diseases you have had, especially if you have a history of kidney disease and liver disease.
- Some forms of Claritin contain aspartame. If you have a condition in which you have to limit the use of aspartame like phenylketonuria, consult your doctor before using Claritin.
- Claritin should be used with caution in older adults as they are more sensitive to its side effects, especially confusion and drowsiness.
- It is uncertain whether Claritin can harm an unborn baby, and should only be taken if completely necessary. Consult your doctor about the use of Claritin if you are pregnant.
- Claritin can pass into breast milk, but it is uncertain whether it can have harmful effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor about the safe use of Claritin before breastfeeding.